Audi LMP hybrids bow out with 1-2 in Bahrain 6-Hour

  • 107th sports-car win and best 2016 result
  • ‘Emotional departure’ for Audi R18’s
  • Second in FIA’s Endurance championship
Audi R18 teams say farewell to Le Mans sports-car racing
1-2 FINISH FROM LAST TIME OUT: Audi R18 teams say farewell to Le Mans sports-car racing. Images: Audi

BAHRAIN Saudi Arabia – Audi took an impressive 1-2 from the last race of its Le Mans prototypes in the FIA World Endurance championship.

A fine farewell indeed, it being the last appearance of the Audi in the series.

After clinching pole not only did the Audi R18 diesels claim a lights-to-flag victory from the 6 Hours of Bahrain but Lucas di Grassi set the fastest race lap and the cars took second in the Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ classifications.

‘THANKS TO THE WHOLE SQUAD’

The automakers said its six campaigners and Audi Sport Team Joest gave their all in the season finale and came out the big winners.

Head of Audi Motorsport Wolfgang Ullrich told The Corner in a media release after the race: “Thank you to the whole squad for an impeccable performance. One couldn’t wish for a sweeter farewell.

“Our competitors and the teams gave us a very emotional finale with many nice gestures. We’re saying thank-you with the best possible sporting result for so many years of tremendous racing.

“An unforgettable weekend!”

LEAD SWOP – BUT IT DIDN’T LAST

The No.8 car of Lucas di Grassi/Loïc Duval/Oliver Jarvis (BR/F/GB) took the lead from the start though towards the end of the first third of the race the sister car of Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F) took the lead but later dropped back after issues with a wheel gun during a wheel change.

READ MORE Audi features on Carman’s Corner

No.8 took the lead again and on lap 104 was the only top team to gamble on a pit-stop during a full-course yellow. The move paid off and, combined with setting good lap times (including the fastest race lap by Lucas di Grassi) kept the advantage.

Even an unscheduled stop on lap 149, during which the team had to remove tyre-rubber from various body parts, did not ruin the trio’s rhythm.

Grassi/Duval/Jarvis crossed the line after six hours with a 16sec advantage, their second victory of 2016 – the other was the 6 Hours of Spa in May.

The also recaptured position two in the standings and teammates Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer completed the 1-2, earning Audi its best result of 2016.

16 POLES AND 17 WINS

The automaker said later: “Audi can look back on a sports-car era with an impeccable track record. Since 1999 the four-ringed LMP race cars have won 107 of 187 races in America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. In the World Endurance championship since 2012, Audi has stood for bests as well.

“On 16 occasions our sports cars were on pole and won 17 of 41 races and posted 23 fastest race laps. No other manufacturer has been more successful in even just one of these categories.”

Audi also took two Drivers’ and two Manufacturers’ World championships.

Stefan Dreyer, head of LMP at Audi Sport, told The Corner: “Our intention had been to achieve the maximum in Bahrain and that’s what we did.

“A huge thank-you to this top team, to Audi Sport Team Joest, to our drivers, and to all the people who made this possible behind the scenes in Neuburg, Neckarsulm and Ingolstadt.”

RACE RESULT

1 Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis (Audi R18) 201 laps
2 Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (Audi R18) +16.419sec
3 Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (Porsche) +1m 17.001sec
4 Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima (Toyota) –1 lap
5 Conway/Kobayashi/Sarrazin (Toyota) –1 lap
6 Dumas/Jani/Lieb (Porsche) –3 laps
7 Imperatori/Kraihamer/Tuscher (Rebellion) –10 laps
8 Kaffer/Trummer/Webb (CLM P1/01) –14 laps
9 Brundle/Rast/Rusinov (Oreca-Nissan) –17 laps
10 Albuquerque/Gonzalez/Senna (Ligier-Nissan) –17 laps

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